Legal State Teen Use And Cannabis | Stoner Guide
One of the heaviest arguments against cannabis legalization is that teenagers will be able to get their hands on the plant more easily than they have been able to in the past. Even though people may put a lot of faith in to this argument, you can’t argue with numbers. A Washington study done recently from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that minors, in fact, don’t feel that cannabis is any easier to obtain now than it was back in 2012 in Washington state. The survey polled tens of thousands of teens across a hundred schools each year and in 2010, 55% of teens said that it was “easy” to obtain marijuana. But in 2014 (two years after Washington legalized recreational marijuana), 54% of teens think it’s easy to get a hold of marijuana. While a 1% difference doesn’t seem like much, it’s still a decrease and not an increase, showing that cannabis is not more obtainable for young kids.
The list of the other things that have occurred in the legal states that go against the “cannabis is now easier to get a hold of for kids” theory is long. From 2012 (the year Colorado legalized cannabis) until now, the monthly teen cannabis use has fallen from 22% in 2011 to 20% in 2013. Additionally, the percentage of teens who had used cannabis at all had fallen from 45% to 39%, a considerable drop. In 2014, the Monitoring the Youth survey and the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use found that nationwide underage cannabis use had decreased slightly. The decrease occurred as the first wave of recreational laws went in to place. This decrease is chalked up to the nationwide conversations that were happening about cannabis, which promoted knowledge instead of scare tactics.
A national analysis of teen cannabis approval ratings also showed that between 2002 and 2013, teens approval of the cannabis plant didn’t increase and an NIH-funded study looked at data from 1991 to 2014 and concluded that the “passage of state medical marijuana laws does not increase adolescent use of marijuana”. Tack on the fact that a few months ago, a study released put to rest the myth that underage consumption had increased, and you have to admit that the youth of today seem much more educated when it comes to cannabis than past generations.
Colorado recently released the findings of a long running report that gives us the most detailed data on the mile high state’s recreational marijuana laws. The surveys were given out to about 40,000 Colorado students before and after cannabis legalization. The information collected showed that the students had “no significant change” in marijuana use by children under the age of 18. The number of high school students using cannabis also dropped from 23% in 2005 to 20% in 2014. But while these numbers seem promising, it was said that Colorado youth are much more likely to use cannabis than children in other states that haven’t legalized. About 13% of Colorado minors 12-17 has used cannabis in the 30 days prior to the survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health said. That’s 13% compared to 7% of minors the same age nationwide. So while nothing really changed, the numbers of teens able to get a hold of marijuana is higher than the national average.
The main key to keeping kids away from cannabis without the supervision of a doctor is educating them. Scare tactics won’t work, as children are always interested in what’s forbidden. Kids are very smart and it would benefit everyone if we just gave them the facts. Teaching the youth about marijuana when they’re young is the key to them using it responsibly when they’re older. By keeping them in the dark about it, they will only have to discover the plant for themselves and who knows what age that will be at. It is up to the parents to teach the kids about the wonderful plant and to make sure that kids aren’t getting a hold of it without the correct supervision.